Fourteen Senegal nationals arrived in Brooklyn today aboard a merchant ship after being plucked from their 60-foot catamaran about 800 miles east of Cape Cod, Mass., Saturday afternoon. All 14 rescued, reportedly in good physical condition, were placed in the care of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command Center received a distress report and diverted the "AMVER"-participating merchant ship OOCL Melbourne to render assistance. The merchant ship OOCL Melbourne was transiting from Barcelona, Spain to Brooklyn.
A joint-agency boarding team of Coast Guard Sector New York and Customs and Border Protection officers met the merchant ship OOCL Melbourne at Ambrose Light Anchorage, about 12 miles outside the Port of New York and New Jersey. The boarding team remained on board until the ship moored at the Red Hook shipping terminal in Brooklyn.
The Crew and Master of merchant ship were commended by the Coast Guard for their seamanship and professionalism in going out of their way to come to the "rescue" of 14 on the catamaran, and for their voluntary support of AMVER / rescue at sea program. They maneuvered their 770 foot merchant ship alongside the distressed catamaran to remove the 14 sailors in the middle of the North Atlantic during January weather and sea conditions.